Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night, follow up to the brilliant and successful A Discovery of Witches, will assure readers that Deborah Harkness had no difficulties with her second outing as a novelist. In fact, I think most people will love Shadow of Night as much, if not more (as in my case), than the first in the trilogy.

Shadow of Night picks up where A Discovery of Witches left off, with Diana and Matthew traveling back in time to Elizabethan England so that Diana can (as safely as possible) learn about her magic and search for Ashmole 782. As should be expected, things do not come easily as they try to adjust to their new surroundings. For Matthew, he is visiting people he’s already said goodbye to (sometimes painfully). And for Diana, frankly, she sticks out like a sore thumb in addition to having to deal with Matthew’s School of Night members.  As they move through the past, they subtly change the future and those around them, as well as adjusting to married life as a witch and a vampire. Without giving too much away, they face challenges, losses, happiness, sadness, and many things in between. Diana and Matthew live a full life in Elizabethan England (and Diana gets to meet quite a few of the people she’s studied) and I enjoyed their journey.

Shadow of Night is a deliciously satisfying follow up to one of my favorite books of 2011. Diana and Matthew are both more fully developed in the novel – and coming to know and understand them better is a wonderful thing. The historical details are well-written and relevant, without becoming over the top or kitschy – Harkness’s affinity and deep knowledge of the period are obvious and appreciated. This book was my must-read of the summer, and I was absolutely thrilled with it, unfortunately, now I will be impatiently waiting until next summer to finish the trilogy.

For interested readers, I am giving away a finished copy of Shadow of Night to US readers (contact me if you are interested and live outside of the US). To enter, please comment below with what you are most looking forward to in Shadow of Night (although I would certainly greatly appreciate it if you’d subscribe – it is not a requirement). One winner will be randomly selected next Friday, July 6, 2012. Update: giveaway if closed.

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